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Florida 27, Fisa 21, Us 15, U.s. 10, Mr. Zimmerman 9, America 6, Texas 5, Walton 4, Illinois 4, Trayvon Martin 4, Jordan 3, Nsa 3, Mr. Shapiro 3, Durbin 3, California 3, Apa 2, United States 2, Michael Dunn 2, David Labahn 2, Mr. Dunn 2,
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  CSPAN    Key Capitol Hill Hearings    Series/Special. Speeches from policy makers  
   and coverage from around the country. (Stereo)  

    October 29, 2013
    10:00 - 12:01am EDT  

>> they sent nsa letters country teaking how you do or don't do your job and only learn about it when some more intelligence is disclosed from leakers. i want to know, and this would also require all denials and modification of fisa orders and now or changedded legal interpretation of fisa, and i'd like to know from you, and we start with general alexander, would there be harm to sources and methods to making this
change? >> well, knot as you described it, but i'm not familiar with it. i'll pass it down to the attorney general. not that i know of, but i'm not, at least the way you've described it giving access to the committee on certain things, it is our intent any time we see significant like that is to report it to the committee, so we would never want to -- >> just seems to me they have a different window, i say a better window, to what's going on, and anything they see as an issue should be shared with us so if there needs to be changes made, we could do that. mr. cole? >> congressman, i think the real issue comes down do what is in the application, what is in the order, what is in the filing, in the fisa court, and that may imp kate sources and methods, and the nature of the disclosure is unique to each document we talk about so if there are ways to redact them or keep them classified or not allow them to
be made public, things of that nature, -- >> we're the intelligence committee. >> i understand that. much of what you get comes in in that regard, and as long as it's kept that way, there's not a reason it should necessarily. there's a number of fisa orders, and applications and opinions and things of that nature that have been released, made public after redacss that are appropriate, and there's continuing efforts in that regard. it's balancing the issues that i think are the big issue here. >> thank you. >> mr. chairman, i, too, want to say we have to do anything we can that our members get information we need, and on the point there's two different newspapers today, reporting that the chairman of the senate intelligence committee has stated, and i'll quote, the senate intelligence committee was not satisfactorily informed, and it hampers our ability to do
proper oversight. we have to work collaboratively to ensure we can do that, and i'd like to yield some of my remaining time. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding. we talked about selectors here, and not all are equal. when a selector is an ally of a nation, that's a national selector, and i can't speak for other members of the committee, but i'd be surprised if there's any apart from that going on. it's not for lack of doing homework by committee members. we have to have a broader discussion about the requirements of disclosure to the committee when programs have the capacity for the kind of blow back this has had. in the covert action area, when there's a covert action contemplated that would have considerable blow back if it was discovered, we have a discussion about it, a notification here in
congress, and i don't think the standard should be any different in terms of intelligence activities. i thank the gentleman, and i yield back. >> i yield back to the chair. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have one comment and then just a couple quick questions. as i've only been on the committee a little while, and i've seen information, asked questions about, where did this come from, how did you know, who told you, what was the source, what was the method, and in every single case i ask the question, not in every intense, and there's things i don't know today where it came from, i got providedded with the information. sometimes it's written form, it's work, and sometimes i can the question and they provide an answer to me, so as i heard folks say today, hey, there's a deep distrust in the intelligence community today, that's in part caused by policymakers who feign ignorance and say things that they know if they did the work, they would have been able to obtain, and
that's for the white house as well. every time there's a disclosure, say, i wish there was another program for a full review, implicit in that it there's not enough tread. today's oversight is insufficient. most of the things i saw and read in the newspapers, there's ample oversight. this committee's engaged on folks with the other side of the capital, and folks across article iii doing enormous amounts of oversight. we do disservice to ourselves as policymakers any time there's risk of blow back or whatever the language may be. if we immediately say, yes, we have to do more, need another policy, something to fix that, sometimes we just need to go do our own work. sometimes we need to say, yes, there's things we know, and i wish i could share them in places that we can't share them, and that's difficult. it's difficult as elected officials, difficult as policymakers to do that, but i think to always respond with, yeah, just one more process, one more level of oversight, six more ig's inspecting igs is not
going to get us to the answer that i think sometimes policymakers suggest we can get to. with that, i want to talk about an only budsmen. there's what you talked about, there's an only -- an buds man. who would the client be? i assume it's a lawyer, and, second, where in the constitutional frame work would we place this person if we were going to try too put someone there to protect the notion of privacy? >> well, i think you hit two of the difficult constitutional issues. the ones of standing, whether or not that is a permanent position within the fisa court could have standing and where they fit within the three branches of government. the suggestion we looked at and thought might be the most useful is a case-by-case determination by the court of appointing and amicus to raise the point of
view that may not be raised by parties before the court, be it a single party or otherwise. >> do they have the capacity to do that today? article 3 judges do that from time to time and in the other context, do the judges have capacity to ask for addition noel, professional help? i think that's what you are asking. >> i believe they do. i've seen it in a number of other courts including the supreme court of the united states where they've doarch that. >> yeah, yes, great. >> thank you. i want to come to just one other matter. general alexander, we talk the about putting the data someplace else, put it in a place outside of government. it's odd often times i sit on another committee where members of congress try desperately to ensure they don't keep the data, for other purposes, because they want them out of their hands because there's inherent releases, and so the scream is, hey, they hold on to this, we have to pass a statute to make sure they can't hold on to the
data, and, frankly, it's from some of the same people asking for both sides. what powers would have to make sure that these providers provided an appropriate level of security for the data? if we told them to hold on to the data, there's processes to secure it, but if it's outside your control, what authority do you have to ensure they protect the data in a sufficient way? >> well, i think that's something that we'd have to work with the court and with congress to make sure that's put in the statute the way we protect it, and under what conditions and authorities it could be accessed. we talked briefly about that yesterday with a group that the concern is who would go in and do a grand jury subpoena to the data? are there other means to get access to it? that's a concern people expressed interest on. if i could, i just wanted to say one thing. i saw you on tv a couple months
ago -- >> that's a bad predicate. >> no, no, i think it's for the committee and american people, an important point. you know, we're talking about something here that is incredibly important to our country, how do we continue, and all of you across both sides of the aisle here, better than any place in congress, have together stood and said, we've got to do what's right for the country. when everybody was slamming something, say, i didn't know about a or b, you stepped guard and said, i did, we looked at it, we did this right, and even though it was unpopular to do, as you and other members of the committee all stood up and done that, i think that's huge, and what our nation expects of our congressional members and us to stand up for it. that was the light that i tried to do before, and so i wanted to thank you for that. >> you're most welcome. on that, i'm going to yield. >> it gets worse from there for you. [laughter] >> thank you, mr. chairman, and
thank you to the panel for appearing before us. we're wrapping up here. i thank you for the accessibility and my limited time here. we're getting in the double digits of some combination of you visiting with us here so thank you for that. i share your frustration with the misinformation that's out there and the rumors that are started and whatnot, and it's been a lot of time of playing whack-a-mole that i know you all have, and i guess equally frustrated by the framing of the issues between sinister or nonsinister, and i know three things, and we'd agree, one, you do essential life saving work. number two, you got to do that work within a constituted frame work, and three, all institutions composed of mortals, you don't always get it right. what i'm interested in is are you getting it right more as you think about and as you look at the results of what appears to be solid come plings and other
internal control systems. i've given a lot of attention amidst rumors and information out there in the media, given a lot of attention to the writings of the judges, and i have two questions, both of which are about the br215meta data program. in 2009, the fisa judges had very strong language with respect to the program. now, judge walton at the time said the court has no confidence, was what he said about -- well, i'll read the quote, "to approve the program, the court has to have every confidence the court is doing everything they can to fully comply with the orders, and the court no longer has the competence." this is 2009. it's not current. that sets up the question, and, by the way, i point out, too, anybody who thinks the fisa court is a patsy should read the language used in 2009. my question is, number one, if we were to look at the
compliance reports, and some of them i have looked at, from 2009, and there's the famous 276 episodes, if we look at those up to the present, would we see improvement? question number one. question number two is, fairly strong language from judge walton and judge bates in 2009. would you characterize the ig's relationship with the fisa judges as better progress made, would we not see the los angeles used today if we look at the documents equivalent to the one i quoted from? >> on the second one first, we're having a fisa judge up to nsa tomorrow. they will go through and see what our folks do. on the first one, this is actually where this committee, you know, this was wire rushing number 14 for me by the committee. we made a mistake what we thought we wrote and how we met the information to go into was
not the way we represented that. to the court in multiple representations, and it was a mistake in translating a technical to illegal frame work. i'll tell you, and what i told the committee four years ago, i think the people who made that mistake made an honest mistake. this was not somebody doing anything willful. they made the mistake. i talked to the people, and i said, okay, that's on me, and so we carried that forward, and we actually looked at it, and we decided at that time, jointly, with? committee and others that we have to set up a directer of compliance for more rigor in looking at the court orders in the way we implement them. now, we've done that. every one of these now are going through that rigorous process. all of our fisa applications are being wire brushedded to ensure they're exactly right, and, of course, as we do that, we're going to find mistakes and we root them out, mistake by mistake, so as we finish this up, what you're going to see
then is that means you do an ig level inspection on every page, everything that we do, we're trying to find every one of those, and our director of compliance is doing just that. we report everyone to everybody. every one of those incidents. that's what you're seeing. i think what you see coming out of this next year is all the sudden they are going to drop down significantly low, and i think this is a good thing. that's what you want us to do. >> is that reflected in a change in the nature of the communications between the ig and fisa judges? >> i think it is. you know, you read that language. i sat down with them, and we went, and i had at the time director blair with the entire court, all 11, and we we want through and walked through on that. i think -- here's where my
opinion, if you ask me to give you that, i think what they see is we're trying to do the right thing, there is no malicious intent that. we make mistakes as you pointed out. number three, we are human. we are setting up a compliance and oversight apparatus that limits that to the maximum extent possible. anything you wanted to add? >> thank you, gentlemen, and i think that's important, and i just, before i wind up here, i want to, quickly, having spent time with the writings of the judge walton, the judge said something really important to the later to chairman leahy in the six-footnote on page three which was lost, but i want to highlight that. one of the pieces of misinformation is that the fisa court doesn't scrub applications, and judge walton in the footnote notes that the approval rate, domestic wiretap applications is higher than the fisa applications, and there's
on appreciation on court's part of the role as well, and i yield back, mr. chairman. >> thank you. just to clarify, when you talked about notifying the committee in that process, that was during 2009. that was not recently. this was 2009. these issues were highlighted both as you stated the court, the white house, and the respective oversight committees, i want to make sure that's accurate. is that accurate? >> it's accurate, but the wounds are real. >> i understand you used to be six-four when you started this particular job. >> mr. west moreland. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and let me say take a wire brushing pretty well because you've been up here a number of times, and we find a hard politically when these things come out a little at a time about these mistakes,
and all this information. my question is mr. snow den is supposedly the source of all this information, and we have, you know, talkedded to you all before about what the level that he was at and how he would have this kind of knowledge, and i know that some of the things that are being put out are not true as already been stated here, and we know that, but it's kind of like, you know, fighting with one hand tied behind your back, but exactly how, you know, is this stuff he's just making up, or did he really have knowledge of these things that were going on while he was at
nsa? >> congressman, he had tremendous access as one of the website administrators in hawaii. it was not that he had knowledge because he clearly didn't understand things about how these tools actually operate, and you can see misperception stated, that one of the noneuropean country had nothing to do, and now having said that, his job was to administer a website that brought information to nsa hawaii for the people in nsa hawaii. he did not have access to the fisa data nor business records 215 or the more sensitive, but he got great access to what we call the core capabilities that we have in some of our product reporting, and he took a lot of that. he took a lot of that data with him and shared that with newspaper reporters, and that's dribbled out, and i believe it's done in a way to cause maximum
harm. i don't know why they want to harm our country, but that's happening, and our allies. it's wrong. >> let me ask you this. as far as the information that you all collect and store, what is the difference there? i know that these microtarters, interpret ads, whatever, they know the food we eat, what car we drive, and they know all different types of information about us. what things do they use different from what you use because evidently you have access to less information than what they do. we're a foreign intelligence agency. the only reason we have that business record is to connect foreign and domestic.
there's no content there. there's no other collection you get from the other people who operate on the civilian industry and for the purposes used to protect our credit cards or things like that. our whole purpose, we don't need to know the name. we don't need the content of the u.s. person. all we have to do is associate a number, and then give that to fbi and let them too -- do that. you know, this is 5 hugely important point brought up because i think it's important for the american people to understand that we're not collecting contents of the e-mail or phones or listening to that. you see that coming around. we don't have that information nor do we collect that. we have what's in the business record fisa, and what we're authorized under a fisa court warned, and if it's a u.s. person we have to get that, and even if they are are overseas with the app rat tis. this is a huge point. i think a lot of people assume because we can, we are seeing
this system has tremendous oversight and controls, its focus, and if we make a mistake, even in transition, we report it. this is not, nor have we seen where anybody other than the 12 cases over a decade is anybody going out and collecting on u.s. persons ill leetly. we're not doing it, and if we find somebody do it, we'll hold them accountable. that's a guarantee. >> well, i'm running out of time, but, you know, i just wanted to make a point that a lot of private companies in this country have a lot more information on the citizens than what the nsa does, and it uses that information sometimes that, you know, may not be the best way we would like for that information to share. thank you for what you do for our country.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. i've been on the committee longer, but i have to say that throughout the course of the snowden matter, i can't find any reason to complain to any of you at the table about a lack of notification, a lack of information that you have provided us. i think you have -- if i have a problem with nsa is you provide us with too much information and we have to understand it, and actually your very good about helping us understand what's going on. >> you didn't say "security," and i don't know, it's one thing to talk about the privacy of the records that you expect some
other architecture to maintain, but what about a foreign intelligence service that says, ha, there's a fat target, let me go after that. >> sir, i think you are right. i include that in security, it's inherent in the protection of privacy from all inappropriate accesses whether that's someone who has authorized access who might misuse that and whether it's read from afar. >> it may be a different architecture also makes for a more inviting target. >> i agree, sir. >> okay. director, i want to zoom back out for just a second here and just think a little about the context of what we're talking about. a couple years ago at our worldwide hearing here in the room, you said something, and i'll paraphrase in 50 years of intelligence, you don't remember a time when we had more complex array of serious national security challenges facing our
country. i presume that it had not gotten any simpler or any safer in those couple years, and would you, again, put in context signals intelligence, the sorts of stuff that we're talking about here today that nsa provides, how much of our understanding of this complex array is provided by the sorts of information that signals intelligence provides us? >> well, sir, you're quite right. it's not changed in that those intervening two years that anything has gotten worse. you know, just a thought about a previous question where there was a litany of all the threats that we are facing by way of example, not exhaustion, and the category of things that keep me awake is the preoccupation with
all these distractions. in the amount of time, thousands and thousands of man hours and, in fact, the preoccupation of the work force with all of the occasioned by this, which is serving as a major distraction for all these other substantive threats that exist throughout the rest of the world. second is huge, hugely important to the totality of our intelligence efforts in the country. it is, in problem after problem after problem, this is the major critter to insight into whatever that problem is, and i'm talking about hundreds and hundreds of targets where it's a huge, hugely important, a qucial player, and it's hard to overstate it, and we've done all kinds of studies on this that
empirically show the crucial importance of the nation's security and that of its people. >> if i could just take one example, counterterrorism these days, we don't do interrogation, at least for very long anymore, would you say signals intelligence is the primary critter of information to what we know about -- >> yes, sir. >> -- terrorism. thank you, thank you, mr. chairman. >> if i could -- >> sure, absolutely. >> you know, one of the key issues you put on was counterterrorism. there's two threats to the country, there's counterterrorism and cyber. this crypt logic platform is critical to getting to the things you talked towards, and i think it's important for our country and our allies to figure out what's the frame work to partner in the future. i think this is critical and perhaps the lynch pin. how do we do this in the future? we need partners, ways in chai
we're seeing people attacks us cyberspace and now in terrorism. we'll work with allies, come up with that framework, and that's something that we should do, and, chairman, i would just offer for the committee if you would ever like to bring up a group, and we'll walk you through every requirement we have and through every place, as you know, it's all open, invited out there, we will get coffee in the future, pending budget -- >> we hope that came out of your check. >> just to clarify for the record, however, the committee has, at least in selected members, have gone up, some on their own, some with a group, to go through the processes. we go through the processes in the budget reviews which are as you people will certainly claim are painfully exhausting, which includes all the protections, all of the oversight, all of the programs, and we do that for all
16 agencies, so the first quarter of our year, and we'll do that again coming up, will be spent on those activities, and as you, i think, know, director, that's one of our best times to go through, again, those checks and balances within your own system, and it's our job to relate it to the bigger system, and when the districter, the dni comes in, we cap that off. we cap all those. it's important frort to understand hoich -- for the record how much goes into all these programs every year, and as i said, the budget portion of that, to me, is the best opportunity for this committee to go in line by line and painful line by line about those programs and what activities you are and are not engage in. i appreciate that, and we'll take you up again, and i know you took a broader group of members recently to the nsa. i thought that was a very, very important meeting. we encourage other members to go
up and get case-by-case la mated to what the nsa is and the odds that these are just real americans committed to following the law and catching bad guys at the end of the day. it's important we get to the privacy issues that are important. i just wanted to ask this particular question. i dpsh some talk about a permanent advocate in the fisa court. i scratch my head a bit, and i can't find that anywhere else, and in a criminal grand jury, there's no advocate on behalf of the person they're seeking indictment; is that correct? >> that's correct. there's no advocate, and even when a witness goes in a grand jury, they don't go in and are not allowed to go in with an attorney, and in particular, probably the closest am ji is the acquisition of a wiretap for domestic criminal law enforcement, and that doesn't
involve any sort of adversary process at all, but an ex parte process with the government or agent going in similar to the fisa process we have now. >> and by design, the court was supposed to be that adversary -- too strong a word -- but to check the compliance with the law and constitution; is that correct? >> correct. this is the constitutional protection that a neutral magistrate not involved in the investigation themselveses is the one to make sure there is, in fact, probably cause and all the legal and constitutional requirements are met before they'll issue that order. that's the role of the judge. >> and so just to clarify, so a u.s. citizen is either, you decide that they have risen to the standard of probable cause, go to that particular judge, make the articulation of what you believe the probable cause is, the judge reviews that for legal propriety, and then either grant or deny the ability for
the fbi let's say, in this case, to get a wiretap on a particular phone on a united states citizen? >> that is correct. >> and committing a crime in the yits? >> that is correct. >> wouldn't we -- just trying to figure this out, we want to get to a better place, but aren't we adding a higher level of protection for foreign citizens suspected of being terrorists? >> we would be adding a level of protection that goes much higher than what is given right now to u.s. citizens in the criminal courts, and we would also be delaying the process in a considerable -- with a considerable amount of time added to it. >> that part's concerning to me. sure, absolutely. >> mr. chairman, i appreciate your line of questioning, but i'd suggest that the example is really not analogous because in article 3 court while there's no pretrial adversary process, when a criminal is brought to prosecution, there is an add
adversary process in which the defense can use a procedure error in the process to have the case thrown out. there is actually an article 3 court a very powerful incentive for an adversary mode of thinking even if there's not the process. >> i understand you, but now we are talking about a new level of standard for a terrorist on foreign soil that we don't provide to a u.s. citizen in front of any investigation, and if they are brought to the court, which happened just recently, they have all the same rights and responsibilities within the guidelines of the discovery; is that correct? >> including discovery and the ability to challenge the fisa warrants that were issued in the case to determine whether they were issued properly. >> but, if i may -- >> sure. >> -- a small minority of the fisa queries wind up in article 3 court. >> this is true, but, again, as in in the hearing in many other country when they do intelligence collection, they don't go to a court at all.
>> yeah, and just for clarification, there's been another suggestion opposed to having an advocate in the court without standing and creating constitutional problems there that maybe you treat it like a u.s. citizen is treated in the sense that you go to a u.s. attorney with that standard for approval to the court versus the national security agency taking the standard to the court. does that make sense? is that dumb cumbersome? is that workable? >> the reasonable, articulated standard is used in the system for police officers to determine whether they can stop and frisk somebody. they have to have reasonable articulation suspicion the person is engaged in an activity that could be illegal, and that's a decision that's made by the cop on the street at the time, and it's meant to be a relatively low standard, but a protective standard to allow them to do this for public safety, so we're in an area
where we're applying it in an area where there's not any constitutional protection, and we're applying it in a way that i think needs to be nimble and needs to be consigned to the people who are actually applying it day-to-day. >> mr. chairman, one additional -- >> sure, quickly. we have another panel, a vote at five, and it's important to get to the other panel. >> i think most of the analogies to the criminal court process are really not on point for the reason that when you go to get a wiretap in a criminal court case, you're not asking the court to grant authority to wiretap the whole country. you're engaging in a broad program of collection. there's a specific target. here no one is, i think, suggesting that in the garden variety fisa case where you're going out on a single target where it's a garden variety warrant that we need an adversary in the courtroom, but when you are asking the court to bless an entire new program like
meta data, that's an action i'm not aware of any other court undertaking without at least hearing from another party, and that's why i don't think the criminal analogy is on point. >> as i understand the chairman's question, he was looking at the individual warrant that would be issued for people within the united states be they citizens or noncitizens where there's the court involved in the probable cause determination in making that comparison. we said all along that in something like a novel issue or a bulk collection issue where there's significant privacy concerns imp kateed that we see an appropriate role for an amicus to come in at that appointment as the court sees fit in order to give the court the benefit of another perspective. we've talked in terms of that being something that could be beneficial. >> okay. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you very much. so given the time constraints, first of all, thank you to the
panel for being here. we appreciate your candid testimony today as we have always found you to be. we may call you back as we go through the process. i want to also publicly thank you for working with the committee both republicans and democrats. there's been a lot of ideas thrown over the transum in how we increase oversight or transparency or build confidence in the programs, and you are quick to get back with us on technical difficults with it or if it works or if you can work it through. we appreciate that. as you imagine, as we try to get it right, and we will try, we think protection of the programs is critical for the national security as much as it is to make sure that the people understand the privacy protections built into the programs that they see that and understand it with transparent signals intelligence. we'll continue to do that. we may ask you to return, and, again, we appreciate you and your staffs working with us as we try to get to the right place where we find that balance and america can be standing shoulder to shoulder with our security
agencies knowing they are protecting their interests and the interests of the united states. with that, i'm going to have to hustle you out and hustle the other in. we'll recess for maybe two minutes while the board switches out. the panel, excuse me. [inaudible conversations] >> on october 1st, we launched a key provision of the affordable care act, the new market place where people without health insurance including those who could not afford it and those who were not part of the group plan could go to get affordable coverage. we know that consumers are
having difficulty enrolling. it is important to note that the affordable care act, however, is more than just a website. it creates a new market allowing people to access quality affordable health care that allows you to have insurance office and creates a pulling of consumers in the plans that spread risk between sick people and healthy people, between young and old, and then bargains on their behalf to get them the best deal on health insurance. by creating competition where there was not competition before, ensurers are eager for new business and createdded new health care plans with more choices. the premiums for coverage were lower than expected, and millions of americans will qualify for tax credits to make coverage more affordable. we know that consumers are eager to purchase the coverage, and to the millions of americans who have attempted to use to shop and enroll in health care coverage, i want to apologize to you that
the website has not worked as well as it should. we know how desperately you need affordable coverage. i want to assure you that can and will be fixed, and we are working around the clock to deliver the shopping experience that you deserve. we are seeing improvements each week, and by the end of novak djokovic, the experience on the site will be smooth for users. >> tomorrow, health and human services secretary will be on capitol hill to testify about problems with the website and the implementation of the affordable care act. you can watch live coverage of the house energy and commerce committee hearing beginning at 9 a.m. eastern time on c-span3 and >> welcome to the montana state capitol. this building was built in 1899 and completed in 1902, but
montana became a state in 1889, taking us ten years to get ducks in a row before construction could actually begin. we added two wings on either side of the building in 1912, and in 1999, the building underwent a huge restoration project to copy the gran deer frustrate period. what you see today is what it looked like about a hundred years ago. among discove rays of gold in the west, last chance gulch was one of the major discoveries and some 18, 19 million dollars in 1860 #s currency was taken out of this place. it's really obvious that this was a town where there was a lot of money. they say that there were more millionaires per capita here in helena than any other place in the 1890s, but that's never been proven. it's a legend, but, you know, it
is a place where you can see the wealth that was poured into the community in the 1880s and 1890s, and it earned helena the nickname "the queen city of the rockies" because of that. ♪ the beautiful and spacious skies ♪ amber waves of grain ♪ ♪ purple mountains majestic ♪ rise up out of the plains >> spend the weekend exploring mops' state capital as booktv and american history tv look at history and literary life of helena, saturday at noon on c-span2, and saturday at five on c-span3.
>> the mother of trayvon martin went to capitol hill to testify about stand your ground laws, and 30 states, including florida, have a form of stand your ground law declaring an individual has no obligation to retreat when attacked. this hearing of the senate judiciary subcommittee on the constitution, civil right, and human rights is an hour and a half. >> i'm sorry, if i can ask you to stand. it's customary to administer the oath before this committee. if you'd please raise your right hand. do you affirm the testimony you're about to give before the committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you? >> i do. >> thank you. let the record reflect that the witnesses, all witnesses in the second panel, answered in the
affirmative. each witness will be begin five minutes for an opening statement, and, nsk, any written statement to submit for the record will be admitted without objection. our first witness is ms. fulton, the mother of trayvon martin. her son shot and killed at the age of 17 on the night of february 26, 2012, in sanford, florida. they created the awareness of how violence crime i'll pacts families, victims, and provides support for those victims. ms. fulton is a graduate of florida memorial university. thank you for coming here today, and, please, proceed with your testimony. >> thank you so much for just taking the time to listen to whatnot only i have to say, but the rest of the people that's testifying as well.
by nature, i'm the mother of two boys, and i still support both my sons. although trayvon is not with us, it is very important that i try to make a change for not only my oldest son, javaris, still here on earth, but also trayvon. it's unfortunate what happened with trayvon, and that's why i feel like it's important for me to be here so that you rule a at least put a face with what has happened with this tragedy. trayvon just turned 17 years old. he had been 17 for three weeks. we celebrated his 17th birthday on february 5th, and he was murdered on february 26, so he
had only been 17 for three weeks. it's very hurtful to know that trayvon was only simply going to the store to get snacks, nothing more, nothing less. it's important to keep that in mind because teenagers like to be independent at times, and he was going to get a drink and some candy. that tells me his mentality. that tells me he was not going to get cigarettes or bullets or condoms or other items of that nature. he was going to get a drink and
candy. tray von was minding his own business. he was not looking for any type of trouble. he was not committing any crimes, and that's important to remember and tragedy that happen are most important. at the time that this happened to him, he was on the telephone call with a young lady from miami. that shows his mentality, that shows that he was not looking for trouble. he was not the criminal that some people have tried to make him out to be. he was not the criminal that the person who shot and kill him thought that he was. he was simply on the cell phone talking to a young lady in miami
with candy and a drink. as i think about this as a mother and i think about how many kids walk to the store and how many kids now feel that they can want be safe in their own community, i think about what kind of message we are sending as parents, as lawmakers, as elected officials, even as grandparents and aunts and uncles, what kind of message are we sending if our kids, because remember, these are our kids, and our communities they don't feel safe simply walking to the store to get candy and a drink, so i just wanted to come here to
talk to you for a moment to let you know how important it is that we amend this stand your ground because it did not, certainly did not work in my case. the person that shot and killed my son is walking the streets today, and this law does not work. we have to seriously take a look at this law. we need to seriously speak with the state attorney's office, the police department, more attorneys. we need to do something about this law. when our kids cannot feel safe in their own community. thank you. >> ms. fulton, we're sorry for your loss, and thank you for your courage in coming today. as well as to trayvon's father. thank you very much for being here. our next witness is professor
ronald sullivan, clinal call professor at harvard law school serving as faculty director of the harvard criminal justice institute and harvard advocate signals intelligence trial workshop, served as director in the defender services in the district ever columbia, received a ba from moorehouse college and law degree from harvard. professor cul vaunt, thank you for being here, and please proceed. thank you very much. members of the committee, let me also join the chair and others in sharing and offering my sympathies for your loss, ms. fulton. in order to properly understand stand your ground laws, we have to first appreciate the broader context in which they exist. first and most important, it's axiomatic that sanctity of human life is a central and animating value in our legal system. this, i trust, is not a particularly controversial claim. dating back to the loss of
courts, recognize that human life is sacred, and those who extinguish human life carry a heavy burden in order to justify such an act. stand jr. ground laws, like all self-defense lawing require the heightened showing of necessity. the particular version of stand your ground law which began with florida's 2005 law differing drastically from other stand your ground laws and from the common law of self-defense in three respects. first, these laws remove the common law duty to retreat. this as a result of emboldening individuals to escalate confrontation opposed to an alternative rule that deescalates confrontation and duty to retreat implies duty to faithfully retreat. the shift of the reasonable miss of one's fear. -under-par a florida-type law, the ag tore is presumed to be reasonably in fear of imminent
death in his home or automobile, and this presumption aggregates the need for someone who is responsible for a homicide to affirmatively demonstrate the necessity of taking another human life. third, these laws provide immunity from criminal arrests and civil liability. this has an unintended effect of encouraging the very sort of vigil antiism that normal law presents. in the testimony, i discuss these issues as length, and also the empirical evil of -- evidence and conclude there's not a cause claim in either direction. to say stand your ground laws increases or decreases incidence of crime, the correlations there i have not found strong causal evidence, but the weight of the evidence points to the cop collusion that stand your ground has little if any impact on homicide reduction and prom mull
gages of the lawings appears to increase certain types of violence crimes. time does not percent me here for more detail, but i'll make observations about the trayvon martin case. mr. zimmerman's akuwaital was made possible because florida's stand your ground law and concealed weapons law conspire to create the person background condition for his exoneration. these laws permit mr. zimmerman to carry a loaded firearm to disregard the director of the 911 dispatcher to follow and pursue trayvon and stand his ground when young trayvon sought to defend himself. all because i strongly suspect that mr. zimmerman could not apprehend any lawful reason for a young black male to be walking through his middle class neighborhood, so his blackness likely received as a crude approximatey for criminality. now, this unfortunate outcome
sends a two-fold message. first, it tells florida they can incorrectly profile young black children, kill them, and be protected by stand your ground laws. second, this decision sends an even more ominous message to young black children so i consider myself fortunate to live in a jurisdiction that does not have stand jr. ground laws, but what if it did? i have an african-american son who is just shy of his 13th birthday whose name ironically is tray. what advice would i give him? i regret the only responsible advice if i lived in a stand your ground jurisdiction would be that if he ever felt seriously threatened by a stranger, he would have to use all reasonable force up to and including lethal force in order to protect himself because i'd rather my tray be alive and be able to argue he stood his ground than dead portrayed by lawyers, the media, and present
company excluded, politicians as a stereotypical black male criminal. this is not a desirable america for anyone. i don't want my son growing up in such an america. i respectfully suggest that states pass laws that permit police to police and citizens to go about the business of building communities. thank you. >> thank you, professor sullivan. our next witness is david labahn, president and ceo of association of prosecutorring attorneys, previously director of the research institute, and executive director of the california district attorney's association and was also a deputy direct attorney in orange and humboldt counties in california, graduate of kal state fullerton, receiving a md
from the university. >> thank you, mr. chairman, thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today. i'm david labahn, president of association prosecutorring attorneys, a private nonprofit organization to create safer communities. apa is the only national organization to represent and include appointed elected as well as deputies and substantiates. on behalf of apa, pleased to have the opportunity to address the issues surrounding this vast expansion of self-defense referred to as stand your ground. as prosecutors, we seek to do justice for victims and hold offenders accountable for actions especially in cases where life violencely ended whether by firearm or other dead hi means. since 2009, apa tracked legislative progression of stand your ground and prosecutors work to end force expansive new laws, and attached to the testimony our statement of principles regarding stand your ground laws, and the laws raisedded a number of troubling and dangerous concerns. prosecutors in the professional
associations overwhelming opposed stand your ground laws in the respective legislatures. concerns expressed are elimination ability to hold violent criminals accountable for acts; however, even with the opposition, many states passed stand your ground laws. many laws diminish or eliminate the retreat, change burden of proof with reasonableness to presumption and provides immunity. by expanding the realm in which violent acts can be committed with self-defense, stand your ground laws negatively affected public safety and underminded law enforcement to keep communities safe and undermind police procedures, stymied prosecutors keeping them. in some states, counters have interpreted law to create a new hurdle in the form of immunity hearings transfer the role of the jury over to the judge. moreover because the laws are unclear, there's an inconsistent
application throughout the state and even within the respective states. prosecutors, judges, police officers, and ordinary citizens have been left to guess what behavior's legal and what is criminal. with the best efforts to implement broad measures, defendants, victims' family, friends, defense attorneys, kurts forced into a case-by-case analysis with no legal certainty of what to expect once life is taken. stand your ground laws provide safe harbors for criminals and prevent prosecutors to bring cases against those claiming self-defense. for example, in february 2008, the case, a drug dealer killed two men in two separate intense. the first drug related, second over retaliation. he was engaged in up lawful activity, it was concluded they were justified under stand your ground law. this is not an anomaly. there was a study that majority of defendants had rest records
prior to the homicide issue. stand jr. ground expansion became in florida in 2005. it is our position that common law protected people's rights to defend themselves and others. the discretion ensured lawful acts were not prosecuted, and i've not seen evidence. after reviewing history of the florida provision, the case to justify the broad measure involved no arrest or prosecution, and the law enforcement community responded properly to the shooting, and the homeowner was never arrested or charged in the lawful exercise of self-defense. ..
will eliminate many of the dangerous effect. this cupeled with a of course rejective will improve accountability. fourth, a statute should be amended to prevent from claiming self-defense. some allow a person to attack a person with the force and you stand your ground to justify killing the person if they respond with like force and nay cannot escape. family we recommend that the law be limited to the strand your ground so it cannot be raise whenned the victim is a law enforcement officer regardless of knowledge. the statute should be read -- against the law officer only acting within the course of their duty. taking together i believe these reform will help minimize the
effect and help restore to enforce the law. thank you for holding this hearing and as i've sitting here i want to rep flect the decision to take a life one of the most solemn decisions any person can ever raise or be phase -- faced it. it shouldn't be taken lightly. policies should not encourage one to violently take a life of another. having prosecuted the cases both lives are forever changed. the individual who chooses to make the decision to take a life as well as the victim's family. thank you. >> next witness is ilya shapiro. previously he was a special assistanted a -- adviser and was an attorney and
private practice. mr. shapiro received an undergraduate degree from princeton, and a law degree from the university of law school. he clerked for judge gradey. please proceed. >> mr. chairman, thank you for this opportunity to discuss the right to arm self-defense. it's most appropriate the hearing was originally scheduled for september 17th. marking the anniversary of the constitution signing. my organization cay o', which thankfully, isn't publicly funded celebrateds by releasing the supreme court review. in reality, every day is constitution day please excuse peanut if i have to leave early to travel to philadelphia to discuss the constitutional issues. now stand your ground is tremendously misunderstood. all it does is allow people to defend themselves without having a so called duty retreat. that cob accept is in part of
u.s. law for over 150 years. about 31 states depending how you count, now have some type of stand your ground doctrine. the vast majority in common law before legislators took any action. some, like california and virginia, maintain it without any legislation still. of the 15 states that have passed stand your ground since 2005, a majority have democratic governors. including jennifer, namp, and kathleen inteel yous. even florida -- passed the state senate unanimouslily. when illinois' strengthened the long standing law in 2004, state senator barack obama cosponsored the bill that was then unanimously approved. converse ily many so calmed red states impose a duty to restrict. even more restrictive --
it's a universal principle that a person can use force when she reasonably believes it's necessary to defend imminent use against unlawful force. when there's no duty to retreat it's further justified in using deadly force if she believes to necessary to prevent death or gomple. the florida is no different. a they just protect law abiding citizen from having to leave a place where they're allowed to be. in ancient britain a duty to retreat -- it reflects a temps to the con stab lair which the king owed a duty of preace to the subject. that's obviously not part of our tradition. despite what gun prohibitionists claim it has deep root in the american law.
it dates to the 1895 case. senator crudes quoted. in places with the duty to retreat crime victims can be in prison for defending themselves. that's controversial. a mugger can't have a wallet but make you leave a public place? among those harmed are domestic violence victims who turn on their asill lant. feminists support stand your ground and point you could have run away may not work when faced a stalker. they are designed to protect law-abiding citizens. most extending the doctrine to public spaces as well. it's bad enough for an innocent person to find herself threatened by a criminal but worrying about whether or not she retreat. as a progressive justice wrote in the 1921 case, quote, the reflection cannot be demanded in the presence of an uplifted
night. nearly a century later we shouldn't demand more of crime victims. any self-defense rule bears the potential for injustice in a two-person altercation. one may be dead and the other dubiously claim stephen. these cases, like trayvon martin implicate the self-defense justification generally. if george zimmerman is the agreaser he has no defense. if trayvon martin attacked him the only question whether zimmerman reasonably believed he was in danger not whether he could have retreated. it zimmerman provoked the confrontation he lost the protection of stand your ground. hard cases make skewed policy debate. the committee is well after -- antigun lobbyist have used that tragedy and trayvon martin to pitch all sort of gun control laws they what they target is a right to arm self-defense. withstand your ground laws prosecutors need to show evidence to counter claim of self-defense. not simply argue that the
shooter should have retreated for for those who value due process is should include historically -- that's a feature. finally, i should mention one episode contributed to the sensationalism surrounding the debate. the attempt to intimidate organizations with any tie to the american leggive exchange counsel. i have submitted with the chairman the letter to the effect and a response by cato's president. thank you for having me. i welcome your questions. >> thank you, mr. shapiro. >> the next witness is mr. lath. sheafed the ph.d. in economic from ucla. please proceed. >> thank you very much, chairman
durbin and ranking member cruz and other members. [inaudible] i apologize. thank you very much for being here. "stand your ground" laws help people be able to defend themselves. t the poem who most likely to be victim of violent crime primarily poor black who benefit the most from having the option to protect themselves. part of the discussion so far is the reason why states have adopted these laws. requiring people retreat as far as possible creating confusion and doubt. in florida blacks made about 16% of the population. they account 31% of the states invoking "stand your ground" law. they justify their aca to justify their action are actually acquitted almost 8 percentage point more often than
whites. up through july 24th of this year from the beginning of 2006, the newspaper and collected 112 cases. information they had that substitutes their shocking find ings -- compared to 59% of those who killed a white person 80% of those his hispanics were not convicted. one needs to remember the vast majority of these crimes are within race. so for example 90% of blacks who were killed in strand your ground cases invoked stand your ground were killed by other blacks. and the case of whites it was 85% and the case of hispanic it was 100%. the basic point is that if you're going concentrate on the fact that relatively few people
who kill blacks are going to be convicted using stand your ground defense. you have to realize almost all the people aren't convicted are blacks. 69% of blacks who raise the strand your ground defense were not convicted that compares to little bit less than 62% per white. 80% of hispanic who raise your stand your ground defense are not convicted. if blacks are being discriminated against because the killers are so often not facing any penalty twont follow blacks are being victimmed are convicted at lower rates that other racial groups? the problem also is not all of these cases are the same. blacks are killed in confrontation where 13% point be armed more likely than whites. -- large and blacks killed again by
killed by other blacks were also more often in the process of committing another crime. they also were involved in cases where it's much more likely to have wans present. if you go and run regression from you try to account for all the factors brought in the tampa bay tribune set. you find white definitely defendants are more likely to be convicted by black department department of -- defendant. they were more likely to be convicted than those who killed whites. what you find when you look tat, and unfortunately it this is the case. the people who initiated the confrontation will more likely be convicted and eye witnesses less likely to be convicted. armed individuals and when more than one person was killed, also were more likely to result in scwixes. -- conviction. the urban statute report brought up earlier, i think, actually showed the opposite of what has
been quoted here. one of the important things just to mention joe roman who wrote this noted it -- well, he said exacerbate racial differences but acknowledges his data lacked detailed available in the tampa bay tribune data. quote, the data here cannot completely address the problem. the setting of the incident cannot be observed. if you go through his paper, what you find he has no data, no information on whether an eye witness saw the confrontation. no evidence on data whether there was a physical evidence. he has no evidence on a whole range of things in order to try to factor those in to account. the big thing if you look at the study and the central finding look at substantial 3. when you find when blacks are under "stand your ground" law the situation -- they actually falled.
if you look at the texas study mentioned they don't account for any other gun control law. if you look at "stand your ground" law whether you have right to carry, the number of permit is going to be important when you account for those things the results disappear. if you're talking about doctrine whether they get access to guns is important. nothing is account forked in the study. when you do that it results also disappear. >> thank you, mr. l at&t. the ml davis who was shot and killed on november 23rd, 2012 at the gas station in jacksonville, florida. they have become advocate for reduce gun violence.
citizenship foundation providing tan for graduating high school student. i would like to thank all the member of the patience and rescheduling of the hearing. we have a chance to meet when it was previously scheduled. i'm glad we had the moments together. please proceed with your testimony. >> thank you. >> good morning, chairman durbin. my name is lucille macbeth. i thank you for the opportunity to speak before the great institution today. i was raised in a family steep? justice and confidence in the triumphant goodness of humanity. my mother was a registered nurse. my father, who served in the army dental corp. was over 20 years president of the ncaap for the state of illinois. he worked actively with
president lyndon johnson and the signing of the civil rights act of 1964. if he could see me here today, testifying in front of the united senate, he would be beaming with pride and amazed at how far his daughter had come until he came to understand what brought me here. i appear before you because my son jordan was shot and killed last november while sitting in the backseat of a friend's car listening to loud music. the man who killed him opened fire on four unarmed teenagers, even as they tried to move out of harm's way. that man was empowered by the standard your ground statute. i'm here to tell you there was no ground to stand.
there was no threat. no one of trying to invade hiss home, his vehicle, nor threaten him or his family. there was a vociferous argument about music during which the accused, michael dunn, did not feel that hef -- he was treated with respect. you're not going talk too me like that, he shouted as he sprayed the car that jordan sat in with bullets. killing him instantly. when jordan's friends tried to back the car away, mr. dunn aimed his handgun and fired off several more rounds -- nine total pierced the car. there are any number of ways that this interaction might have gone, but there was only one way
could have ended once a gun entered the equation. in florida, over 1 million people carry concealed weapons. additionally 10 to 15,000 more floridians are approved to carry guns in public every month faster than any state in the nation. nationally, florida has some of the loosest permitting requirement. automobile glove boxes are becoming modern-day gun boxes. in his glove box, michael dunn kept a nine millimeter semiautomatic gun along with two loaded magazines. once he had unloaded his gun at my son and his teenage friends, he immediately went back to his hotel, ordered a pizza, and slept.
he left the scene and made no attempt to call police. he retreated but only after he killed my son. the next morning he was arrested two hours away. those are hardly the actions and motives of someone who was quaking with fear. some will tell you that the argument was about music. but i believe that it was about the availability of guns and the eagerness to hate. people like mr. dunn feel empowered to use their gun instead of their voice to reason with others. now i face a very real responsibility that my son's killer will walk free hiding behind a statute that lets people claim a threat where there was none. this law declares open season on
anyone that we don't trust for reasons that we don't even have to understand. they don't even have to be true. in essence, it allows any armed citizen to self-deputize themselves and establish their own definition of law and order. and let's one and all define their own criteria for right and wrong and how justice will be carried out. even the wild west had more strin again lawing governing the taking of life than we have now. stand your ground defies all reason. it goes again the sound system of justice established long ago on this very hill. my son was named for the jordan river. in the bible that river similar bos isled the crossing to freedom. it's waters marked the final
step to liberation and offered up the holy stream that baptized jesus. its name seemed a fitting choice for a boy born at the end of the 20th century. a time when black people in this country had finally dmom to their own. jordan was named for change in the tide. a decision to try harder and do better. hef my only child. he was raised with love and learning and a clear understanding of right and wrong. i have been without jordan now since thanksgiving weekend 2012, without him last christmas and on his birthday in february. i never got to take his prom picture. or see him graduate from high school.
i can tell you all about him, about his easy smile, his first girlfriend, and his plans to join the marines. i can tell you how he loved his dad's gum bow how they both rooted for the new york giants. but you can never really know my boy because an angry man who owned a gun kept it close at hand and chose to demonstrate unbridled hatred one balmy evening for reasonably never understand. these laws empowered his prejudice -- over my son's own life. his liberty and pursuit of happiness. there will be made no sense of it unless i and the families of other victims speak tout assure this kind of predatory violence
in. it was 50 years ago that my father shook hands with eleanor views -- rose vellet. she as he did, believed that this nation was rich use to the core. that made us better. our men and women of the senate you can prove them right today. where your help and willingness to bring our laws back toward the true tenant of justice. you can lift this nation from the internal battle which guns move over right. you have the power to restore hope to a nation vie --
crying out for justice. i pray you hear the will of the lord. thank you. >> thank you. now turn to the question for the witness and each member of the committee will seven minute. i'll start. thank you for your courage in coming here today. i find hard to understand those who defend stand your ground by arguing that african-americans should celebrate these laws. the negs that somehow t to the benefit of african-americans are minority in this country just defies the stories that we have been told by both of you. innocent children, children killed in the name of self-defense. when in near instance was there
evidence of aggressive or violent conduct by these victims. these young men who were shot down. you've heard the arguments made about the notion that somehow african-americans should view this as a positive thing on strand your ground. what would you respond? >> i would agree with your statement, it's not a positive thing for anyone where citizens of the united states are running around shooting each other. whether the perpetrator is african-american, whether the victim is african-american, on our country and leave it to trained police officials who engage in this sort of behavior. >> your testimony.
i was particularly moved. you stated by expanding the realm in which violent abilities can be committed without the justification of self-defense, stand your grow laws have negatively affected public health and undermines prosecutorial and law enforcement officers to keep communities safe. you go on and talk about a specific case in february of 2008 which you mentioned in your testimony a 29-year-old drug dealer killed two men in two separate incidents. the first drug-related, the second of retaliation for the first. how to he was engaged in "issue" unlawful activity. unfortunately you go on to say the example is not an anomaly. a recent study concluded that a
majority of the defendants shielded by the law had arrest records prior to the homicide at issue. if we called as a witness here a person representing a national association of criminal defense attorneys, maybe some people would have understood. but in your case, you represent the profession of those who prosecute criminals and you were saying "stand your ground" laws are not working to the benefit and deafen of america. tell me why you come to the conclusion. i think you gave that example. i can give the committee additional the national association of criminal defense lawyer. we work closely with the defense bar this is one of the area that the two of wety verdict. it's good for the deafen. when i testified in florida there was a defense lawyer on the scott commission he clearly -- this is good for the
defendants. long at the specific example. you talk about here is a drug dealer now unfortunately at the time of the killing, he was not selling. if he was selling drugs it would be unlawful activity. he was just in an legal place he was had a right to be. he was not selling at the moment. therefore he had a right to defend himself. the second piece, as i mentioned in the testimony was possession. if someone is a convicted felon they have no right to possess a firearm. yet they can go under stand your ground use the firearm and be
free. and not be held accountable. the stories unbelievable. january of 2012. another florida case. the victim was -- stealing, again, the victim of the shooting did something wrong. no question about that. but in this situation, someone their car being burglarized. they go ahead and chase they yell at them. get out of my car. in this florida situation, chased him down, and knifed him to death. never reported and called 9-1-1. never said anything about it. when con confronted said defending my property. the texas example, the horn case disseminated to the country. the gentleman sees his neighbor's house being burglarized. 9-1-1 urged them to stay in the house.
we'll take care of it. instead he go aheads and shoots both of those two, i believe they were juveniles dead and then exercises strand your ground. that went in front of the harris county grand jury. the harris county grand jury town to be stand your ground. the movement in create the presumptions and to give immunity -- immunity is crazy to be that's not what it should be. it should be affirmative defense. it causes the problems. they have done nothing but cause difficulty. the new law are an invitation to
confrontation and presumption of reasonableness and civil and criminal immunity. now as i understand the state of florida is debating about changing the laws. could either of you testify about are how they change the law and what they're raising for a reason of a change. >> i think -- so one of the things they are thinking about changing is clearly establishing this principle of a first aggressor. and whether first aggressors can un-- avail themselves of the law. doubt to retreat, if i can is important. i've heard comments today that are plainly wrong with respect to historically duty to retreat meant. you said it. it meant safely retreat. it did not mean stand there foolishing and be brutalized because of some law.
rather only if safely to retreat. this is is just a norm of good judgment. the exercise of good judgment. a norm that prevent the sort of vigilantism that we see in these many case that were cited. finally i think florida should tweak the immunity provision. my point is that immunity along with the change in presumption conditions a certain response in people. people who know the law behave in a way a much more aggressive frontiersman like way they would not but for the broad expansive protection of the law quite different from historical self-defense laws. and even quite different from
the stand your ground interration historically. 2005 marked an extreme difference in the way the laws were written. >> thank you. thank you. your question about florida. to say some spray and creates kills a number of people. in stand your ground they should not be civilly immune. especially hitting an innocent bystander. i testified before them and they are stepping forward and changing the flawed law. william was unable. the second judicialer circuit prosecutor out of florida. he was unable to attend today. he was the initial one. his closing comments are very important in that was his shouldn't we have a duty act reasonably toward one another? that was a law before stand your ground and which is the way the
law should return. the bottom line it's an unnecessary law to make it easier if the worst criminal to get away with the most heinous crime. that's why on behalf of prosecutors i stand here today. thank you, senator cruz. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to enter to the record from senior senator from texas. i would like to thank each the member of the panel for being here. thank you for being here and sharing your stories. every parent understands the mourning you're feeling, and it's always a tragedy when a child losing his life. and we are feeling your loss and
expressing our sincerest condolences. much of the discussion this afternoon has concerned the tragic circumstances of the trayvon martin case. none of us in this the hearing room were there that night. none of us knows precisely what happened. we do know there was a violent altercation between a hispanic man and african-american teenager. we know at the end of the confrontation, the teenager was dead. what exactly occurs that night no one in this room likely know for sure. we do know some things. we know that our system of justice has a process for ascertaining what happens when this there is a violent
confrontation particularly one that leads to loss of life. and that process is a jury trial. and a jury of mr. zimmerman's peers heard the nefd this case. he was prosecuted prosecuted prosecuted in a that's case. and the jury rendered a conclusion. we don't know if the jury was right or wrong. but we know that the jury's system is the only system that our judicial system has for ascertaining what happened particularly when you have a one on one confrontation it can be particularly difficult to determine what the facts are. we also know that the subject of the hear. the "stand your ground" laws was not a defense that mr. zimmerman raised. so this entire hearing --
the topic of this hearing is not the issue on which that trial turned. and sadly we know that some in our political process have a desire to exploit that tragic violent incident for agendas that have nothing to do with the young man who lost his life. we have seen efforts to undermine the verdict of the jury and more broadly to inflame racial tensions that i think are sad and irresponsible. and recognize for the family you're mourning the loss of your son. i understand that. there are other players who are seeking to do a great deal more based on twhapped florida
night. i would note additionally that the chairman of the committee a moment ago made a -- i thought, remarkable statement that to the effect that no one could reasonably believe that "stand your ground" laws protect those in the african-american community who are victim of violent crime. ic that's a remarkable statement on many, many fronts. including the great many african-americans find themselves victims of violent crime and have asserted this defense to defend themselves, defend their family, defend their children. i find it remarkable because the assertion that no one reasonably can suggest this benefit of the african-american community is drawn in to remarkable relief when one keeps in find in 2004, a state senator in illinois by
the name of barack obama cosponsored an expansion of illinois' law providing civil immunity for those who use justifiable force to defend themselves. so the notion that "stand your ground" laws are some form of israelied racism bay be a convenient political attack. it's not bourn out by the fact remotely. i want to secondly note the issue of alec, an organization that exists to encourage common sense legislation and state legislators. i would like to enter to the record multiple letters submitted to me organizations that are concerned about the targeting of it in conjunction with the hearing. when you see the united states
senate targeting the exercise of free speech, this observation is not unique to me. indeed on august 8, 2013, the chicago transcribe boone wrote an editorial that stated free speech isn't always free. it gets downright cumbersome when senators have you on the enemies list. and it would be wrong for a u.s. senator to use the power of his high federal office as a cog l against the enemy. i certainly hope this senate hearing does not become an avenue to suppress free speech. a final point i would like that -- i would like to make. by its definition, the "stand your ground" law does not apply to aggressors. it explicitly excludes agreasers. i would note on the facts as you have described that evening your
son lost his life, the defense would not apply. it would not even arguably apply. it is a defense that only, only, only applies to those who are the victims or potential victims of other violent agreas -- aggressors. indeed it is only triggered when there is, quote, an imminent attack that could cause death or serious bodily injury. so this is a doctrine that by definition does not apply to aggressors when death or serious bodily injury is at risk. the question that all of us have to ask in a confrontation between a violent aggressor and potential innocent victim, a
potential innocent victim seeking to protect himself, herself, her children with whom do i stand? i believe we should stand with the innocent against aggressors. that is why the right to self-defense has been so critical for time. i hope that we will not see the constitutional right of innocence citizens sacrificed because of political agendas of some. >> the senator from texas raised some personal issue. i'm going respond to them. let me be very specific when i say this don't take my word for it. take the testimony of hillary shelton, director of the ncaaa. washington bureau what she states as part of the record. few issues of caused as -- and among our members and the
communities we serve as that of "stand your ground" laws. these laws and their applications have sadly resulted in no less than the murder of people who are doing nothing more than walking down the street. statemen in the record by hillary shelton of the ncaap continued reference to enflaming racial tensions, my friends. we've heard it before over and over again. we have problems with the issues of race in america that we have to face squarely. and when people are being discriminated against, whoever, whenever, in america, the subcommittee on the constitution's civil right and human rights is not going to back away. the second point i would like that make is this: there are many victims when it comes to "stand your ground" laws. alec isn't one of them. i will conceive that i asked those who were publicly identified as supporters of the organization if they supported this "stand your ground" law. only one out of 140 that
responded said they supported it. i'm not going enter the names of these organizes in -- organizations in the record. for the very point made by the senator from texas. i don't want to establish any chilling effect on political participation. i think it's reasonable to ask the organizations if they agree with the agenda. an agenda, which now the chairman ever alex from the state of connecticut said they no longer standby. so i'm not going enter any names to the record for that very reason. but isn't it -- our i want to thank the chairman for having the hearing. it is not only a legitimate but
a necessary hearing. it is profoundly important that we face these issue of human rights, which hopefully matters of constitutional right. and i want to thank everyone of the witnesses. all of you for being here today. most especially miss fullton, miss mac bath for your story and firsthand experience which is profoundly important. question have theoretical and reterritorial debate. what really matters is what happens to the doctrine of law in in the street and the courtroom when they are explained to injury. i assay it as a prosecutor. prosecutors would often say to me that the most difficult times for them in prosecuting a case
when the judge tried to explain the law to a jury. right. how do you explain stand your ground in the complex, challenging, often emotionally charged time when a jury has to decide whether a person's liberty should be taken away and sometimes even a person's life as a result of the alleged commission of a serious crime. i mist say your fment -- testimony has special meaning to because the members of your associations are the ones who take cases this myriad of facts, sometimes confusing and contradictory and try to present them to to a jury or a way they results in justice.
and you used one word that i think is profoundly important. ambiguity. stand your ground as opposed to self-defense even as i sit here i wrestle with what the distinctions are in real life. how they are explained. that's why i agree with senator durbin that the ambiguity of the doctrines can encourage violation and confrontation. the apparent approval that it may give to people who feel that they've been insulted and maybe threatened nonphysically but verbally. seems to me can result in a hope of acquittal or nonconviction.
so maybe you can speak to how in the crime this doctrine of stand stand your ground has a practical impact. thank you, senator. here i am in front of not one former attorney general but two former attorney general. so i'm have to be good on the law especially as you talk about the courtroom. first of all, what the law does is place either its murder or nothing. and you talked about the ambiguity. someone chooses to take an action and chooses intentionally kills another. and it usually in a rule of prosecutors with homicide and the killing is that a manslaughter is it a murder? is it a first or second? are there special circumstances? when you put this the presumption and the immunity provision in there you create a situation where it's difficult
to determine even at filing stage what kind of a crime it is. particularly as it relates to florida you put to the box murder or nothing. secondly there's been some discussion here about the agreaser. and i would the committee to look at chapter 776.041 of the florida statute and why stand your ground did apply in the trayvon martin case and apply directly. its because 776041 use of force by agreaser. carefully within the statute they allowed and the person reasonably believed it's a subjective belief by mr. zimmerman that he was about in imminent danger therefore justified his use of that force. which goes directly to what one of the jurors said. the jurors did as you talked about the courtroom. the jurors followed the law. the law said you can use the
reasonable force under the florida stand your ground if you believe you are reasonably imminent threat. so it is -- yes, t incredibly difficult and the ambiguity is never good. the other test we use is how many appellate decision come out of a particular statute. that's why it's apparent. look at nexus if you want to see the different way it has been appealed. >> in your experience, dot member of your organization over whemmingly share your view? >> they do. i point to the statement of the principle. the difference between the legislative branch as well as the --
police officer share the view? >> again, the officers working at the other national source, yes, very sincere. that's why i talked about justifying kill an officer. i believe indiana flip it is around and encourages as you talk about the public policy to ged and take an officer's life unless you as the citizens believe that officer was following and scope of employment that is craziness. police officers feel these laws may, in effect, represent a throat them. >> back to -- a both a threat to them serving a search warrant going a home. plains clothe and not in uniform absolutely. i believe georgia case is on
point with that. the requirement there be actual knowledge instead of an officer doing their job. that is the problem where police officers and then officers don't know what to do when you have a statute said you can't arrest yet you're supposed to investigate. what does it mean? >> i think you say it well in your testimony when you said prosecutor. prosecutors judges, police officers and ordinary citizen have been left to guess what behavior is legal and what is criminal. hit the point about ambiguity. it shouldn't be in something like murder, mr. chairman. >> thank you. mr. shapiro. i know, row have to leave to catch a train. you told us ahead of time. thank you for being here today. >> thank you, mr. chairman. once of the observation about the debate is howdier have the state seemed to be in arriving at same conclusion you have
michigan, nevada, pennsylvania, withstand your ground laws and a lot of southern states where i guess the point i'm trying to make it seems to be that democrats and republicans depending on what states you're from seem to embrace these laws. mr. cult van, from the federal point of view, there are remedies available to the federal government if there's an injustice at the state level, is that correct, like in any case, the trayvon martin case case in illinois the justice department could if they choose pursue federal action, is that correct? >>, absolutely.
the federal government have to demonstrate the the moment violent encourage mr. zimmerman behaved as he did as a function of racial -- i'm not sure that the sufficient evidence there for the federal government to go forward. i tend to agree with the case on that what that decision on that based and more in a basis that the federal government should be cosh and exercise discretion in going in and upsetting the state verdict. that's a very -- i agree with you.
i hope i'm not hurting your reputation in the legal community? >> you have enhanced my reputation. i'm [laughter] i'm honored you would say that. i think that's a reasonable view. i know, there's a lot of pressure pressure being applied to the attorney general and we talk about trying cases in political arena is probably not a good idea of having victims speak up. having mothers speak about losing their children. that is very appropriate. i hope you listen -- if you are defending the case like the trayvon martin case would you have done so many thing as the defense? >> you would have to be a little more specific. >> is there anything wrong about the defense in that case? anything unethical? i'm not going to charge a fellow lawyer with unethical behavior
without knowing more. i would -- i was deeply troubled by the caricature of trayvon martin as a personification of a stereo type. i was deeply troubled by that overlay over the criminal justice system. whether that violated florida's professional rule of quct. i don't-- -- conduct i don't know i haven't studied it. that i wouldn't have done. i will say that -- >> have you ever defended aperson accused of rape? >> bernlly? i have. >> have you ever questioned the victim? >> i have. >> and i guess the point from mismartin's point of view. your son was a fine young man. i'm trying to set there and think as parent listening to this in court, i would feel -- but i've been a defense lawyer.
and, you know, the person expects you to vigorously defend the interest of a client that's why we have -- [inaudible] we're trying to get that balance between how far can you go in attacking the victim to protect the rights of the accused, and in term of the racial implication of that case it seems to be from an objective point of view that "stand your ground" "stand your ground" laws tinned to apply when most violent crime within the community i.t.; is that correct? >> that's exactly right. >> and yeah. i'm trying to come to grips with the idea that somehow this law -- as a racial injustice about it. and i, i mean, do you think it
does? >> i think the way -- the impact of the law as a racial tilt, and that troubles me profoundly. that stand your ground was used in this particular case, if i can just amend what senator cruz said. mr. zimmerman does not unveil himself of the immunity portion of stand your law. however, the judge instructed consistent with florida law, which included an express statement of stand your law if you feel you were imminently in fear of death or reasonable bodily injury. mr. zimmerman had a quote, right to stand ground and use deadly force and response. i may have cited it in the written testimony. if not i will stride. stand your ground was front in center in the case and just not
the immunity portion of stand your ground. i don't claim to be an expert in the area. i guess from a politician's point of view, when you have people like governor grant, and joe machin, somebody i know. i don't believe in their mind at the time they signed the laws in to law they felt that is what they were doing. can you understand how somebody would come to a different conclusion? >> of course. and i certainly don't mean to claim that legislators sad down and said -- minority and writing the laws. juries carry the bag ankle bracelet, unfortunately the country has sometimes. but the laws express themselves in various sort of ways. i spend a lot of time probably bored your staff senseless in term of reading the statistical
able sis -- analysis there. you know, with respect to my friend, you asked the economist a question. you get 11 different responses in term what the data means. there's a lot of noise. i will say there's a lot of noise in the data. when you do see examples like jordan and trayvon martin. my only point to the committee and to the american public is that those are individuals. they're not data points. they're not statistics. they were living and breathing citizens whom we should care about. and to the degree that the law produces perverse results and i submit to you this result with martin -- trayvon martin was perverse we adopt know what is going to happen. it's something we should look
at. and punishment that would be a different view if u yo believe that he was just -- walking to get cab i did and a soda. you wonder how somebody could be dead because of that. it's so complicated. the one thing i don't want us to do is politician is take away the ability of when the day in court to unveil lawful defense that has been recognized thank you for allowing me. that was exactly what i was feeling and wanted to present.
if you look and say in a way with such force as under automatic circumstances he at the moment honestly believed -- great bodily injury. that's exactly the problem. that's why there's been so much prosecutor opposition to this sort of direction. the florida law and we stand by the verdict. ..